Deprivation and Excess in The Tale of Sir Thopas and The Tale of Melibee

Chaucer, the pilgrim, is the only member of the group who is allowed to present a second tale on the way to Canterbury. He delivers his second tale following the failure of his minstrel song, "The Tale of Sir Thopas." The second tale is told in prose form. It is about a rich man named … Continue reading Deprivation and Excess in The Tale of Sir Thopas and The Tale of Melibee

On Chaucerian Irony in the Tale of Sir Thopas

Chaucer describes the whole group as "sobre" after the previous tale of martyrdom told by the Prioress. Then the Host starts joking and for the first time he looks down at the narrator -the fictional character of Chaucer, who is an unusually quiet and observant person. He is an intellectual: maladroit, moody, somber, soft, and … Continue reading On Chaucerian Irony in the Tale of Sir Thopas

A Hollow Story of Martyrdom In The Prioress’s Tale

In the "General Prologue" the nun, or "Prioress," is described as simple and coy. Her name is "madame Eglentyne" and her greatest oath is by "Saint Loy," or Saint Eligius, the patron saint of goldsmiths, metalworkers, and coin collectors. Perhaps the Prioress cares deeply for transient physical valuables. At any rate, she speaks French very … Continue reading A Hollow Story of Martyrdom In The Prioress’s Tale

History Contra Poetics in The Physician’s Tale

There is no introduction to "The Physician's Tale." We begin en media res. The tale cites as its source Titius Livius ("Livy") the great Roman historian, though Chaucer likely borrowed sections from The Romance of the Rose which he also partially translated. Unlike other tales, "The Physician's Tale" is not about unrequited love or the … Continue reading History Contra Poetics in The Physician’s Tale